Warehouse order picking methods are an important aspect within any warehouse. Compared to shipping, storage, and receiving stages, order picking forms as much as 55% of operation costs in a distribution center. It also has a direct impact on how satisfied your customers are. If your picking methods in the warehouse are quick and accurate, your business will succeed. Here’s what you need to know about order picking and how to implement the key warehouse picking best practices.
What Is Order Picking?
Order picking is the process of selecting items from a warehouse inventory, to satisfy several independent customer orders. This is an important part of the supply chain process and has been considered the most labor-intensive and expensive activity for every warehouse. As mentioned, the cost of order picking is estimated to be as much is 55% of all warehouse operating expenses. Since order picking involves such a high cost and can directly affect customer satisfaction, companies are learning more about improving their processes to create a more efficient supply chain.
Types of Order Picking Methods in the Warehouse
There are many different types of picking in a warehouse and each one works as a customized solution for each business. Depending on the size of your warehouse and inventory, the manpower you have on hand, and the number of customer orders made each day, there may be certain methods that are more efficient for you than others. Consider the following types of order picking in the warehouse and learn how you can get quality advice and efficient management of your supply chain so you can focus on growing your business.
Single Order Picking
The most common type of picking is single order picking. The picker is provided one order at a time and then goes to the warehouse to find each item on the list before completing the order. However, in many cases, the sequence in which orders are given to pickers and the routes they follow are not optimized. The worker must always make a full trip through the warehouse just to fill a single order. This is not the most efficient method. Warehouse management systems (WMS) can help solve this problem and increase productivity.
In this case, workers can pick multiple orders at a time, with both manual and automated picking. The manual picking environment works by allowing the picker to pick SKUs required for multiple orders at a time. This minimizes the travel time. With automated picking, the worker remains in one location while horizontal and vertical carousels deliver the required SKUs to the worker.
Multi-Batch Order Picking
This is the ideal pick and pack solution for cases when multiple smaller orders need to be distributed. These orders are more effective for workers that travel long distances within a warehouse. Multi-batch picking is used for orders coming from different areas in the warehouse, and thus reduces the order pick times by collecting numerous orders simultaneously. This process also reduces the time needed to process multiple SKUs.
This method divides the warehouse into several zones and assigns workers to only work within a specific zone. Each zone can use its own type of technology and storage system, depending on what would work best for the SKUs stored in that zone, and the storage technology used in that zone. Orders can be picked in the past from zone to zone, or delivered to a specific point before shipping
Pick and Pass
This strategy involves passing orders from one zone to another for fulfillment. If an order originates in zone A, a worker adds all the SKUs required from that zone before it passes onto zone B. This is repeated until all the items can be taken to shipping. To maximize productivity with this method, order management software (OMS) can be used to manage the order flow.
This method is an alternative to pick and pack. Each zone selects the SKUs required for the order simultaneously. When one zone’s partial order is complete, it is sent to consolidation until the SKUs from the other zones arrive. When all the SKUs are together, the partial orders are matched up into one large order. This order is then sent to shipping. This is a very advanced strategy that required inventory management software (IMS).
Advanced Systems Picking
In this system, totes for individual orders travel from zone to zone where they are delivered into picking stations were a worker is picking from carousels. These batch stations use specific systems to direct the correct quantity to each tote. During this process, the bulk components of orders can be picked by workers on forklifts who are doing one order at a time or batch picking. All these components are brought together in consolidation.
Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc. for Warehouse Order Fulfillment Services
Improving your order picking process will take time, so making sure that you are managing it as best as possible is vital. However, if you are a small- to medium-sized business, you may not have the manpower and tools necessary to get the job done efficiently. Therefore, working with a third-party logistics partner (3PL) can help you. There are many advantages to working with a reputable provider, especially if you want to get your products out to your customers faster, in better condition, and handle returns and issues more efficiently. Without an efficient order picking process, you may be unable to meet your goals and please your customers.
At APS Fulfillment, Inc., we provide value to our clients by offering the most dependable, effective warehousing solutions possible, every day. We are an experienced e-commerce order fulfillment company that can provide advice on which order picking strategy is best for you, and we offer our clients a variety of hands-on services. Our services include product fulfillment, direct mail marketing, fulfillment solutions, and fulfillment markets. We also use the best quality software systems to manage your warehouse, so if you’re looking for the right company, look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. You can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (954) 582-7450.